Annie On Writing

May 24, 2010

The Princess and the Frog

Filed under: Review — Annie Evett @ 8:50 pm

The Princess and the Frog is Disneys latest feature; but one which has swerved from the current trends and has purposely sidestepped the race in realistic animation and scripted irreverent wisecracks to go back to their foundations in both design and messages. Traditionalists will be pleased to see a return to hand drawn animation and children of all ages delighted with this charming retelling of a favoured fairytale. Most importantly, are the many positive messages deeply embedded throughout the film; not least of all the power of dreams.

The Princess and the Frog warm and witty narrative, inspired by a well known fairy tale, wrapped generously around song and dance numbers sprinkled with plenty of talking animals and neatly twisting modern messages into a fantasy setting in 1920s New Orleans.

Its a nostalgic return to the classics Disney is well known for, but with a modern feeling that stops this being a rehash. What was important of a number of levels was that the main character, Tiana, was not only black, but flawed and the scriptwriters at Disney worked extremely hard to ensure there were no racist overtones; allowing messages of the power of dreams to fuel the plot. The Prince within this story is not a two dimensional lacklustre prop; but rather another flawed character who grows and learns throughout the movie.

Tiana joins the long line of Disney Princesses with a new mature outlook, driven by career rather than the long established dreams of finding a husband. She is brash and judgmental and despite her workaholic ethics, she is full of grace and beauty deserving a place amongst Disney’s Pantheon. She is a sign that Disney’s writers have moved with the modern times; allowing their heros to have depth.

Unlike some of the previous Disney storylines, the characters have more depth and backstory. Tianas journey forces her to understand that there is more to life than just hard work, while Prince Naveen learns to value more than money and leisure. Both main characters and supporting characters are forced to revisit their dreams, ensuring that these are their driving passions, rather than pursuing what is expected of them.

This is a sincere fairy tale full of passion and heart but never wanders into the naive or dull. As would be expected from Disney, the film brims with wholesome lessons which will strengthen the next generation of children. One of the main themes throughout the film surrounds the power of dreams and of keeping ones word and integrity. Although the film is aimed for children between 4 and 10; its themes, music and upbeat messages are suitable for all ages.

Despite critics negative feedback on the inclusion of voodoo and black magic, the story doesn’t dwell on these ceremonies or specifics; but rather the outcomes being pursued. Just in any good fairytale, this is a battle of good over evil and even the youngest child could identify between them. In saying this, some scenes may be scary for very young or sensitive children; particularly when Dr Facilier is dragged into the graveyard by the evil spirits.

Disney works hard at recreating its artwork with one foot in realism and the other in fantasy. The animation is gorgeous, dialogue amusing and witty and defiantly suitable for the whole family. The Princess and the Frog is an elegant and touching story filled with New Orlean jazz music, vibrant colours and strong characters. Its particularly refreshing for those who are weary of the cynicism and perfection of the new wave of digital cartoons.

Annies Kids ADORED the film… and now we have to watch it at least three times a week.



  1. Very awesome article! Truely..


    Comment by Trudy Goodrich — May 28, 2010 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  2. This is the Disney philosophy, the American dream, the happily ever after that drives aspiration, ambition and pursuit of happiness. I haven’t seen it yet, but the film has been on my list since the previews. Thank you for the review – I knew I could count on Disney.


    Comment by everwriting — June 1, 2010 @ 4:08 am | Reply

  3. Hi Leigh – thanks for your comment. a little bit of sugar and spice doesn’t go astray and as a mum concerned about the things on film now – am glad Disney has kept its formula.


    Comment by Annie — June 1, 2010 @ 8:07 am | Reply

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